|Taken from a moving car yesterday|
Last night I got a chance to see all but one of my sisters for the first time since a year ago last March. Markee arrived from Canada yesterday, and Norma Jean and I flew in the evening before. Whenever we have a gathering, it's here in the middle of the Lone Star state, since three of the six siblings live nearby. My sister PJ wasn't there last night, but the rest of us went to my niece Megan's home for an impromptu birthday party. We'll be celebrating my seventieth and Fia's fiftieth for the entire week, it seems. Tomorrow we will all go to see the movie Lincoln and today we'll have another gathering, with all of us in attendance.
It seems we only have family reunions these days because of somebody's death. Last time it was to honor the passing of Norma Jean's husband Pete. In order to keep the entire family from descending on her little mobile home when he died in February 2011, we agreed that Norma Jean would come to Texas, and I flew in from Washington, so we had a wonderful gathering. I wrote about it here. I had barely recovered from spending three weeks in Florida before heading to Texas, so it was a particularly disruptive time in my life. But as a result of spending all that time with Norma Jean, we got into the habit of talking to each other two or three times a week on video chat. It seems incredible to me that we never ever run out of new things to talk about.
Because of our close interaction, we have changed each other's lives quite a bit. We read the same books, she takes the same fish oil I do, and we discuss the programs that we both watch. And before I know it, two hours have passed. It's a bit of an addiction, but now I get to see her in person, and we are even sharing a bed. She climbs into bed, turns over and doesn't move a muscle for hours. I feel a bit intimidated so I curtail the tossing and turning I would normally be doing, and so far it's been fine, I've fallen asleep without a problem.
We are in the living room right now, me writing my post, her reading the news on line. Usually I'm sitting up in bed with a cup of tea and Smart Guy asleep next to me. It's almost 7:00am but not even 5:00am at home. I haven't had any problem adjusting to the two-hour time change; I will probably have more of an issue when I go back home. As I get older, I notice I have become less resilient and less able to adapt to any change at all in my routine.
The first night I was here, Norma Jean, my brother Buz (who we are staying with) and I all celebrated being together by having a couple of bottles of wine. That's TWO bottles for three people. I was getting tipsy and drank more than I realized. Usually I limit my consumption by measuring it and not having more than one glass. I got into the habit of doing that when I was dieting and wanted to count calories, and I guess my body got accustomed to it as well. If I deviate and have TWO glasses instead of ONE, I feel it the next day. Yesterday I woke feeling pretty awful, and I didn't have that much extra wine. But it was enough to make me drink ginger ale instead of wine at the party last night. I didn't miss it one bit, and it was interesting to watch everyone else as the wine took effect.
We reminisced over the pictures I had on my iPad, pictures of all of us when we were young, our parents when they were young, and times, people and places long gone. One nice thing about the iPad is that pictures are large enough to share with an entire table, and we all remembered, laughed and cried together. This was the first gathering of many. Norma Jean will leave on Friday after Thanksgiving, and I will leave the following Tuesday. Until then, I am soaking up all the family I can, and my camera will be busy snapping pictures right and left. These will be added to our memories, but it will take awhile before they fade into the past. The imperceptible passage of time will change us from where we are today, and I won't notice it until we get together again.
We have been very fortunate to have all six of us able to have these reunions. There is no assurance in life that we will be able to have another, since the inevitable changes that come to us all may make it impossible. Thinking of that, I feel my heart swell with gratitude for the time we have together this week. I love each and every one of my siblings and our extended family. I'll still be here next Sunday and I'll have plenty to write about then, too.
Until then, I will be posting on my other blog. I want to say how thankful I am during this Thanksgiving week for everything in my life, including you, my dear readers. Many of you have become as precious to me as family, although we may never meet in person. Isn't life wonderful?